11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.13If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.2For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
3We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.11We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.12We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.13As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
1In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.2He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.3He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done.4He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan. )5Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.6He held fast to the LORD and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.7And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.8From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.9In King Hezekiah’s fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it.10At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel.11The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes.12This happened because they had not obeyed the LORD their God, but had violated his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.13In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.14So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.15So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace.16At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the LORD, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
17The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field.18They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them.19The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: “ ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours?20You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?21Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.22But if you say to me, “We are depending on the LORD our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem”?23“ ‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them!24How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen ?25Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’ ”26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.”27But the commander replied, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”28Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria!29This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand.30Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’31“Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern,32until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death! “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’33Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand?35Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”36But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.”37Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said.
1What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave.2The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains. Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets.3Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire— they all conspire together.4The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm. Now is the time of your confusion.5Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips.6For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.7But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
8Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.9Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.10Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.11The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries.12In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the Euphrates and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.13The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds.
14Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasturelands.Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago.15“As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders.”16Nations will see and be ashamed, deprived of all their power. They will put their hands over their mouths and their ears will become deaf.17They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground. They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the LORD our God and will be afraid of you.18Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.19You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.20You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.